Title: Utilizing AGILE for New Development of AEGIS Tech Manuals
Author(s): Joshua Smith of Herren Associates and Mary Plumb PEO IWS 1.0 AWS Sustainment APM
As technology and capabilities being made available to the Navy continues to advance at unprecedented rates, the supplemental documentation development and delivery processes have not been able to sustain the same level of support. The current AEGIS technical manual (TM) new development process allows three prescheduled deliveries with tech freeze (TF) dates occurring eight to thirteen months prior to each release, causing the documentation to be up to three or four computer software builds behind the software and reducing the current content in the technical documentation delivered to the Fleet. Additionally, there have been a large number of comments/errors in point of departure (POD) TMs that are considered out of scope for new development efforts and are deferred to life cycle maintenance (LCM), depending on when they are deferred it could be up to a year before comments are incorporated.. Limited stakeholder participation through-out the process causes a back-log of issues that were deferred to the LCM effort as well.
A study was commissioned in support of the defined IWS 1.0 mission to improve technical accuracy and overall quality of AEGIS Technical Manuals (TMs). The primary objective was to develop a rapid, repeatable, and improved process for developing TMs that demonstrates quality, schedule, and potential cost efficiencies across all IWS 1.0 funded AEGIS new development baselines, along with a recommended starting point for implementation. A collaborative team of government and contractors worked together to investigate all future state options, in order to provide a recommendation along with supporting analysis to leadership.
The team recommended an AGILE approach, commonly used in software development, which allows development to occur in smaller, more manageable pieces. The analyzed development process spanned from the initial planning meetings through the final delivery to the Fleet. The effort also determined the most feasible starting point for implementation. By leveraging AGILE characteristics, the team expects to see seven major improvements including:
1. TMs would be only one software build behind as opposed to three to four.
2. Incremental TF dates allowing for an additional eight to ten months of data per delivery.
3. Reduction of work package comments during TM IPR (historically 3.0 received, 1.1 incorporated per WP).
4. A 66% improvement in Fleet-emergent request response time (from six months to two months).
5. An estimated 75% reduction in Advanced Change Notices (ACN) delivered to the Fleet.
6. Training to see 5-10% curriculum update reduction of a typical 15-25% curriculum requirement.
7. Improved communication across all stakeholders to work together to develop TMs, Work Packages, and computer program documentation.
The team identified a number of risks to TM development. Implementing the AGILE methodology would potentially mitigate 12 of the 14 identified risks. There were still some inherent risks such as Land Based Test Site (LBTS) availability for Validation/Verifications (VAL/VERs), the state of the point of departure (POD) TM, and the ability to implement the infrastructure.
Implementing an AGILE approach would entail some initial investments to cover an increase in manpower, AGILE team training, purchase of a documentation tracking database and corresponding training, and the cleanup of the POD documentation. Due to the learning curve associated with using the AGILE methodology, and the initial investment, the team did not expect a return on investment (ROI) until the next baseline. At that time, the team has estimated efficiencies will result in a reduction in development cost by 7-8% while simultaneously increasing the quality of the TMs.